Aliens replace a boy’s internal organs with two, squirrels, a hawk, a shoe and more.
(from The Best American Nonrequired Reading, 2004)
Basically, this story is a long metaphor for the way we resist adulthood and puberty and growing up. (Interestingly, to me, this story uses the phrase “blood-eagled” which made me think of a certain moment in one of my favorite short stories of all time by Wells Tower.) The writing style in “How They Took My Body Apart and Made Another Me” — a stream of whateverness mix of narration and internal dialogue — wears on you after a bit. The back of this anthology says this story is a part of a “novel in progress.” I would be wary of reading a whole book written in this manner.
Of course, I don’t read any novels.
Yesterday I walked over to the Borders at Chestnut and Market and dropped $45 into Dave Eggers’ collection plate. Earlier in the day, I’d spent pretty much the same amount on groceries at Trader Joes. Bought meatballs, fake cheese, almonds (which I had a dream about) and other things. But at the book store I only got three books. They are:
The Best American Nonrequired Reading, 2004. Duh. Eggers edited this one. It features a forward by Viggo Mortensen, who, besides being the Lord of the Kings, is also some kind of author. This book has stories by David Mamet and David Sedaris, but most of the names are not well-known and non-David.
McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories. Edited by Michael Chabon. This picks up where McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrill Tales (2002, also edited by Chabon) leaves off. The point of this series is plot. I love plot. Authors include Heidi Julavits, Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, more.
McSweeney’s Number 14. T.C. Boyle, Denis Johnson, Jim Shepard, more. Plus, holy crap, Wells Tower. The mysterious, though aforementioned, author of one of my favorite short stories which, at this point, needs a shout-out: “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.” Nice.